Knowing your limits…beyond Happy Hour
I love to hang out with family and friends. Who doesn’t, right? Recently, I noticed that I spend most of my free time hanging out, and I spend a lot of funds doing so. Now, I have to ask myself: When is enough “enough”? I honestly believe that I can save some money, and still have some fun.
I keep a schedule of budget and my cash flow in an Excel spreadsheet. I typically review it 3 to 4 times a month to see if I am staying within my limits. But I never established a true limit for entertainment and dining out. I thought I could hangout with friends without spending money. The truth is I tried and felt extremely bored. It’s time that I find a common ground for my financial goals and my social life style without setting unrealistic restraints.
Set a Limit: My approach to my problem is simple: Make a plan and work the plan. The new plan is to cap all my entertainment expenditures to $120 each month (much more realistic than $0). This should allow me enough “wiggle room” between work, my social calendar, and my financial goals. After all, I did not include a boring life in my 3 year plan and the first step in my plan is to be realistic in regards to my money habits.
Use cash instead of Plastic: To work this plan, I feel that physically drawing out $120 cash each month to spend forces me to stay within that boundary. It’s a form of an adult allowance, and to be honest I miss the days when I did get an allowance. The excess funds will have to be deposited in the safest place I know: my online savings account for emergencies. By doing this, I will be implementing one of my favorite money principles: Out of sight, out of my mind.
Adapt to the plan: I have to change my social habits as well so I can stretch that $120. Two simple changes should do it. The first change I will have to make is eating before I meet up with my girls for cocktails. The second habit I will have to implement is a drink maximum along with a drink price limit. I am the type that loves the $15 martini. By sticking to a 3-$10-drink maximum once a week, I could save $120 each month.
Making these small changes should put me on a path that leads toward my financial goals... without leaving many happy hour celebrations behind.
Do you know your limits? Post a comment or question.
Jéneen R. Perkins is a freelance accountant and consultant serving entrepreneurs, families and small businesses. She prides herself in being a Freelance Accountant, Fluent in plain English”.
"Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is" is a journal about real life experiences and answers to tough tax questions posed to Jéneen R. Perkins, Owner of Eclat Enterprises, LLC